I've written this paragraph seven times before, trying to find the right phrases, the right words, and the right tone to properly describe Rogers Place.
Eight times lucky? I hope so.
Because it's difficult to put into words.
Last week I had my first peek at the brand new arena on the north side of 104 Ave. As a writer I'm supposed to have the tools to paint a picture for you, the reader.
But after taking in the sights and sounds of Rogers Place, I don't know where to begin other than saying one word.
Forgive me if I'm being elementary or flippant.
Seeing the inside of Rogers Place will give Edmontonians a new sense of civic pride in the building.
Clearly, with the completion of this building, we have taken a bold step towards the next level as a city, to have such a pristine facility in our back yard.
It is world class.
Don't be surprised if you need a few visits to Rogers Place to truly enjoy the event going on at ice level. Because one trip isn't enough to take in all the building has to offer.
Where do I start…
The features are stunning: the largest scoreboard and video screen in the NHL hangs over center ice, which is crystal clear and visible from anywhere within the rink; the sight-lines are impressive, from the lowest seat near the ice surface to the highest in the upper bowl.
And the room.
That's what specifically struck me. The concourses are wide and spacious, giving people lots of room to stroll and mingle during events.
It doesn't give you a hurried and somewhat squeezed feeling, as some of us may have experienced in older arenas, such as Rexall Place.
With the vast space in Rogers Place, there's a certain sense of calmness - that more space lends itself to being more relaxing.
But not too calm, though. In fact, one lounge in Rogers Place will be curtained off after a hockey game or concert and turned into a nightclub.
The seats? They look like they are as comfortable as your favourite easy chair in your rumpus room - and just as inviting.
The lighting throughout the building also caught my eye. It's bright, but not overly, giving the building a warm and friendly feel to it.
For many, it won't be surprising if the reality and look to Rogers Place exceeds their expectations.
I'd be happy to hear your thoughts after you have visited for the first time.
One specific feature I find so engaging in Rogers Place are the windows, looking north and south over the city.
I stopped at one of those windows. I couldn't help but think of all the Edmontonians - both present and future - who are going to walk into Rogers Place and see what a spectacular building we now have.
They will have their own way of describing their experience and will choose their own words to express what they see and how they feel.
And I bet one of them will simply be: wow.
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